50% of coaches didn’t undergo maintenance, says loco staff

All India Loco Running Staff Association has alleged neglect of railway coaches being used in Kerala and cited such neglect as the reason for the recent accidents in Alappuzha and Thiruvalla.

All India President of the Association L. Mony said on Thursday that nearly 50 per cent of the rail coaches deployed in Kerala did not undergo periodic maintenance. This situation, together with the poorly maintained 27-km railway stretch between Mavelikkara and Changanassery, was a potential recipe for disaster.

However, railway authorities in Kerala dismissed the allegation. A senior official said that the allegations were not backed by any evidence. The official pointed out that safety measures are taken and pointed out that Railway Safety Commissioner regularly visits the State to take stock of the situation. He said that another visit by the official was scheduled for December 14. In a statement issued on Thursday, the Loco Staff alleged that the Mavelikkara-Changanassery stretch of the rail lines was “fatigued”. The statement also said that the post-monsoon reports pointed to “jerks experienced in many places by loco pilots who run the trains in these areas.” The loco pilots also blamed the Railways for “thrusting” old coaches on Kerala, which led to accidents like the one in Alappuzha late last month.